CALIFORNIA — Hawaii’s five-time world champion Carissa Moore of the United States and Brazil’s reigning title holder Filipe Toledo head into the Rip Curl WSL Finals in California in the coming days as the top ranked surfers and favourites to add to their world title tallies.
Australian Ethan Ewing, who fractured two vertebrae in a wipeout last month, is battling to be fit for the one-day competition of the top five men and women surfers from the 10-stop professional world tour.
Griffin Colapinto finished surfing’s 10-stop pro tour last month ranked second in the world, having qualified to represent Team USA at the 2024 Paris Olympics and with a spot booked in this month’s Rip Curl WSL Finals to crown a world champion.
“I look at that on paper and expect to feel an abundance of joy. But for some reason I feel nothing and I can’t understand why,” the 25-year-old Californian said in an Instagram post soon after, talking through his anxieties, his self-doubts and the importance of being in the moment.
Colapinto’s powerful and radical surfing has made him a fan favourite with many during his best year on tour yet, but his willingness to share his darker moments has also struck a chord.
“I feel like I’m in the position where a lot of people look at my life and think ‘He’s got it all, he’s got the best life ever, probably happy all the time’. And I just want to be real with people, be vulnerable and show some things that are hard for me,” Colapinto told Reuters ahead of the Finals.
“Life isn’t perfect, and being able to help people relate with each other, I want to be more open, be a good role model for being open to talk about deep things that are kind of uncomfortable to talk about.”
Self-doubts aside, Colapinto is perhaps the best placed surfer to deny number one ranked Filipe Toledo of Brazil back-to-back world titles when the one-day competition kicks off at Lower Trestles in Southern California sometime between Sept. 8- 16.
While Toledo has relocated to Southern California and surfs Trestles as well as anyone ever, Colapinto grew up nearby and is sure to have huge hometown support.
“I’ve grown up surfing there since I was super little and I know the lineup really well, and what waves do what. Even just having the support of the crowd and all my friends and family there – I feed off that energy, so I definitely feel like I’ve got a bit of an advantage, for sure.”
Colapinto has claimed three world tour victories in the past two years – two of them in finals against Toledo – and is relishing the prospect of battling the Brazilian for a world title.
“We’ve had some really good battles right now on tour,” Colapinto said. “Our record is 3-3, we’re tied against each other, so yeah, if we can match up against each other, I think it could be a really fun one.”